Happy Monday!

Yes, I know it feels more like a weird Saturday/Sunday hybrid, but it’s Monday which means tomorrow is Tuesday which is practically Wednesday so HOORAY we’re halfway through the week!

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Mad clapping skills

Last week I spent hours writing THE comeback post. It was honest, entertaining (toot my own horn much?) and everything I could have hoped for simultaneously summing up my 2016 and dipping my toes back in the blogging pond.

Annnnnd then it got deleted.

The internet sucks you guys, it just does. Since that night, I’ve gone back and forth wondering whether I should attempt a rewrite or just admit defeat and move on. And now I’ve made my decision…

Internet: 1
Natalie: 0

So in lieu of the grand comeback I’d envisioned, I’m reverting to an old classic: a list of semi-relevant thoughts in no particular order.

// Okay world, I finished The OA this weekend. Feeling…so many things. Amazed? CHECK. Confused? CHECK. Surprised/mildly embarrassed at how much I cried during the last scene? CHECK. All I know is it was a damn good show and I’ve been devouring every bit of wonky fan theory I can get my hands on. And if they don’t bring it back for a second season I’M CANCELING NETFLIX. Jkjkjkjkjkjkjk I didn’t mean it.

// Christmas paraphernalia? Yeah…it’s still up. TO BE FAIR THOUGH, I just haven’t felt like taking it down. #christmasforevs

// Zoey is 11 months old! So maybe a baby update will be comin’ at ya in the nearish future? I’m also officially “planning” her first birthday party but feeling the opposite of Pinteresty so keep those expectations nice and low por favor.

// I’m feeling very angsty about my current morning routine (or lack thereof if I’m being honest). Pre-baby, my mornings were very regimented and organized, and I loved it. Once Zo arrived on scene and threw me the curviest of balls, it took a while, but I eventually settled back in to a working routine. But man, now that she’s so mobile, most of my days are a total blur. I know that I need to kick it back into high gear and give my mornings a revamp but also…sleep. Send energy and inspiration STAT. 

// Taylor is on a serious Spotify kick these days. Though we don’t ever always agree on music (his Texas Country v my Britney Spears circa 2001) he’s uncovering some pretty spectacular playlists as a result of his 99 cent membership. Songs I Sing in the Shower and Mood Booster are on constant rotation under our roof and I cannot cannot cannot recommend them highly enough for all of your feel-good-mid-day-dance-party needs. 

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// No major New Year’s resolutions here, but I’m definitely making a more concerted effort to “reset” in the New Year. For me that means getting back into the daily walk/run routine and sticking to eating real food at home 80% of the time. And the remaining 20% you’ll find me happy as a clam with my head buried in a bucket of french fries.

// Along the lines of slightly more healthy eating recs, I whipped up this Sweet Potato Turkey Chili tonight, and it did not disappoint. Simple and super and comforting, especially topped with avocado and a little bit of cilantro. Also – these honey walnut baked pears are hella yum and perfect for anyone with an insatiable late night sweet tooth. (hi, me.)

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// Help! Right now I’ve got 5 books sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read, but I can’t decide which to crack open first. Among the stack are Gilead, All the Light We Cannot See, Sharp Objects, Cemetery Girl, and Talking as Fast as I Can. Suggestions for where to start?

// Taylor and I are headed out for a date night tomorrow and I’m so excited! We’re insanely lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who  jump at the chance to watch Zo for us, but it’s rare that we spend our baby-free evenings just the two of us. Dinner + drinks + dessert, there’s really no telling where the night may lead. Except in bed before 10, because that’s just a given.

I could go on and on and on (oh and I have), but I’ll stop here. I hope your week is off to a kickin’ start! 

love & hugs,

N

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  • Claire

    OMG ANTHONY DOERR IS A TOP THREE FAVORITE AUTHOR OF MINE. Start with him.ReplyCancel

  • Replace french fries with Oreos and you’ve found me in 2017. Sigh. I’m going to finish them off and then I’m done. It’s over. We’re breaking up. I say that now…

    Start with Talking As Fast I Can… then tell me how it is so I know if I should read it. Deal?ReplyCancel

  • I’ve got a stack of three books on my nightstand too but somehow I can’t find the time to read them yet, big fat surprise surprise there. Maybe someday! I can’t believe Zo is almost one. Like that’s crazy. You were JUST pregnant with her! I’m glad you’re back to blogging, even if randomly ;)ReplyCancel

  • heather

    fries> guys all day every day!! haha Ive heard great review about All the Light we cannot see. Try that one first.ReplyCancel

Oh, hello!

Should we go there? IDK. I mean, do we need to? Do you want to? We can. If you want. Okay FINE – we will. 

Much to the dismay of you and my mother, I went away for a while. However, in my defense, “a while” in new mom years is like 5 minutes. If that. And I don’t know how that translates in light years but HONESTLY it can’t be long.

{Sidebar. I recently watched Neil deGrasse Tyson attempt to explain the concept of a light year to Chelsea Handler (and also me) and while I think the concept is supposed to be fairly basic by the end of it all I was just like, “Oh. Oh no. How did we get here? Send help.”}

See? I’ve been back at blogging for all of 30 seconds and already I’m not making any sense. But I will NOT apologize! Because social media told me that 2017 is the year that women stop apologizing. I mean, finally, thank God. I’m actually somewhat of an avant-garde because I began implementing this rule on day 1 of my marriage, sorry to break it to ya.

No! Dammit! NOT SORRY. 

Bleh. This is not the articulate return to blogging I had envisioned. Raise your hand if you are surprised! 

A.N.Y.W.A.Y.

The reason I’ve gathered you all here today is to:

1) Say hello!
2) Hop back on the blogging horse, and
3) To spam you with pics of my kid, of course!

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I mean…is she cute or is she cute? She’s cute! And exhausting! And hilarious! And totally rotten! She’s a jack of all trades, that spawn of mine.

Honestly. 101 things have changed since we last convened. That little tiny up there? Well, she’s still tiny (10th percentile-ish always and forever) but she’s also big, almost 11 months old! She’s gone on two out of state trips and celebrated two major first holidays. She has teeth, she talks, she crawls, she waves, she gives attitude that makes me question my own sanity and honestly – it’s all just so FUN.

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And me? Well, I’m the same. But also different. Nothing has changed and everything has changed all at the same time and you can read more about it in my memoir.

LOLOLOLOL. Kidding. I’ll get started on that memoir just as soon as find time to finish writing my grocery list.

So in summation:

– Hi! 
– I’m back.

But hey, thanks for sticking around (assuming you have) and patiently waiting (assuming again) while I not so elegantly gathered my shit and adjusted to the craziness that was this past year. I can promise, there will be lots more where that came from in 2017. Okay, maybe not lots. Littles? More. Let’s just say more.

Happy New Year ‘Errybody!

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  • YESSSSSS FINALLLLLYYYYYReplyCancel

  • YAY! You’re back!!
    Seriously, you have the cutest baby in the entire world.ReplyCancel

  • Hooray for being back!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Oh heeeeey! Glad you’re back on the blogging train :-) You already know I think Zoe is the cutest but I’ll just go ahead and say it again because SHE IS THE CUTEST.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany

    Yay!!!! I’m so excited your back. I get the time away. I have a 13 month old. I get it.

    Your little is super adorable!ReplyCancel

  • Happy New Year!! That is one sweet, adorable baby who also looks much like her mama in many of these pictures! Too sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Hayley

    Welcome Back!!ReplyCancel

  • So glad to have you back! I love your blog and just wanted to say hi. Your daughter is beyond the sweetest!!ReplyCancel

  • Heather

    Yah!! ur back!!! Happy New Year :)ReplyCancel

The day I told Taylor I was pregnant, we decided to make a trip to Babies R’ Us. To do what exactly? Well, nothing, because I was barely 6 weeks pregnant. Nothing except wander around that store wide-eyed with freshly impregnated grins on our faces. And it was sweet! Oh so sweet. 
 
But also – totally overwhelming. 
 
The world of baby “stuff” is huge. HUGE. And as you’ve probably guessed – most of it is total crap. Because the truth is, the only baby gear you actually need are diapers and milk. But the rest of it? It’s sure nice to have. 
 
Over the past 6 months, we’ve found things we love and hate, and eventually figured out what our essentials are when it comes to the world of baby gear. And while every baby is different (duh), there are a few pieces of baby paraphernalia I’ve fallen in love with, and would recommend in a heartbeat.
 
(*Disclaimer: These are my personal favorite baby-related items. In case you were unaware, every baby, mom, family, and household dynamic is different. You might hate sometime I love and love something I hate. If that’s the case, just try not to get your panties in a wad. THANKS!)
 

Rock & Play 

Ah, the Rock & Play. Every man, woman, and child loves the Rock & Play. Zoey slept in the RnP for the first week or so of her life, and napped in it all day every day for at least the first 3 months. I loved how easily it folded up and moved from room to room. We were gifted the nicer model that vibrates, makes noise, and rocks on its own, and I have to say – TOTALLY worth it. Because there’s really nothing better than a sweet sleeping baby.
 

City Mini Stroller 

THE BEST STROLLER. I did a lot of stroller (and car seat) research, and I just kept coming back to The City Mini. Depending on your budget, it might be considered bit of a splurge, but go to the store and play with it and you’ll see it’s AMAZING.  It reclines almost completely flat and has a massive sun canopy, and couldn’t be easier to use. It’s super lightweight, compact, folds very simply (one handed), and adapts to just about any car seat. I use this stroller all the time, both indoor and outdoor, and truly can’t say enough good things about it.
 

Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat

Like I said, I did a lot of car seat research, and eventually landed on the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP. It’s incredibly lightweight (one of the lightest infant carriers on the market!), which, aside from safety, was the biggest deciding factor for me. It’s also super plush and sleek looking – I LOVE the all black.
 
Because we’re in Texas, I wanted to look for a car seat made of a cool and breathable fabric. This one almost reminds me of a dri-fit material, and it’s stayed cool on even the hottest summer days. Another bonus – how easy it is to remove and wash the padding, which turned out to be a necessity for my little spit-up queen.
 
I went back and forth a LOT in the beginning about if we really needed a carrier or whether it would be wiser to use a convertible car seat right from the start. Ultimately, I’m so glad we went with the carrier. I know this is different for everyone, but since Zoey was born in February, I would have hated to hate to take her out of her warm and cozy car seat for every little errand. We have been so happy with our choice, and when it’s time for her to move up to a convertible, we’ll definitely stick with this brand!
 

Halo Bassinest

Baby sleep is (aside from breastfeeding v formula feeding) quite possibly one of the most controversial new parent topics. The co-sleeping/bed sharing/crib sleeping arguments make my head spin, and as with almost every aspect of parenting – you find what works for you.
 
But no matter what your long-term goals are for baby sleep, most babies end up in mom and dad’s room for at least a brief period in the beginning. For us, co-sleeping with Zoey in her bassinet next to the bed worked incredibly well. I loved having her close by, but still in her own little space, and she actually slept in our room until 5 months.
 
The Halo Bassinest has been the very best. We received comments on it from nearly every person who came and visited us in the early days. The fact that it swivels and scoots right up to the mattress has made having her in our tiny master bedroom SO easy. Plus, the lowering mesh side walls also made for easy baby-staring, a new mom pasttime.:) 
 

Aden + Anais Easy Swaddle 

I think that most babies enjoy being swaddled at some point or another, and after trying out a handful of swaddles we were gifted, we eventually discovered that this one was our favorite. The light weight muslin material is perfect for a warm house or climate, and the snaps made it a breeze to put on. 
 
And once Zoey started to get superrrrr wiggly and began to bust out of the swaddle, we switched to the Magic Merlin, which also became an instant favorite! 
 

Burp Rags

For us, burp rags are LIFE. Zoey was a spit up queen, and while that’s improved as she’s gotten older, she’s still an unpredictable mess. Even now that she’s spitting up less, we’ve got drool to deal with. In my experience, I could never EVER have enough burp rags. These Carter’s burp rags from Target are a favorite, because if you have to have a vomit rag, it ought to at least be cute. 
 

Skip Hop Changing Station 

I had no idea how much I would come to love a little portable changing station. Rather than lugging a big diaper bag everywhere, it’s so nice to be able to grab the portable changing station for quick errands. It’s big enough for a small diaper stash, wipes, and even a spare onesie or two. I never ever ever leave home without it. I know there are plenty of brands that make them, but Skip Hop is the one we were gifted, and we’ve loved it! 
 

Covered Goods Cover 

This was a simple and fairly inexpensive little accessory that I wound up using a TON. I used it mostly as a car seat cover, but it makes a great nursing cover too! I haven’t used it much as a cover because with my wiggly child, covering has become way more trouble than its worth but this one is stretchy, light weight, and absolutely adorable. It’s tiny enough to fold up easily and toss in the diaper bag, and I love that I’ll get to use it as a shopping cart cover once she’s sitting up on her own.
 

Wet Bag

Because we cloth diaper, a wet bag was a must-have for toting around dirty diapers. BUT – wet bags are not just for cloth diapering! Babies are hella messy, especially in the early days. We were going through onesies and burp rags like toilet paper, and a wet bag is SO nice for tossing dirty laundry into when you’re on the go. It contains the smell, is machine washable, and a little more eco-friendly than a plastic bag. And because they’re so affordable, I’d recommend one to any new parent! 
 

Solly Baby Wrap & Lille Baby Carrier

BABY WEARING SAVES LIVES. If this is the only thing you learn from this post, so be it. Because I repeat – baby wearing saves lives.
 
Now that we’ve gotten that ode to baby wearing out of the way, onto my personal favorites! A woven carrier a must for when they are teeny tiny and the Solly was our pick. I fell in love with their Instagram when I was pregnant and actually wound up buying TWO different colors. And if I have another baby, I’ll probably end up buying another one. I love the Solly. It’s cute, easy to use, light weight, and an instant baby-soother. The Solly website says that their wraps are designed for the first year of life (up to 25 pounds), and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon! 
 
Once Zoey was a little bit bigger, we decided to also invest in a structured carrier. The Lille Baby is similar to the Ergo, but a bit more affordable. We went with the Airflow model, because it received rave reviews for being cool and breathable. So far we’ve only used it for inward facing, but we’ll be able to use it for outward and back carrying in the future as well! 
notsofavoritesPINIMAGEAnd naturally, when it comes to baby gear, there are also a handful of things I find to be a waste. Starting with…
 

Diaper Pails 

Diaper pails – the biggest scam of all. After all it’s really just a glorified over-priced trashcan with an expensive and complicated refill process. I know people swear by their diaper genies or whatever fancy poop disposal system they have, but it just feels unnecessary to me. 
 
It’s significantly cheaper to just buy a nice trash can and use regular trash bags –  you can even use the scented ones if you’re worried about smell. Because we cloth diaper, a diaper pail didn’t make much sense for us anyway. Instead, we opted for this metal step trash can from Target and a these reusable pail liners. The trash can is actually cute, and we’ve never once been able to smell anything in the room.
 

Baby Swings

Swings are great, I don’t think there’s a baby in the world who doesn’t like the swing – BUT, they’re also expensive and bulky. A friend gave us their used one, which we used occasionally, but it was never our saving grace like the Rock & Play was. I didn’t like that it can’t be moved easily from room to room, and are also think they can be kind of an eye-sore. I know people who would put baby swings #1 on their list, but for us, that just wasn’t the case. 
 

Baby Bathtubs

When it comes to baby bathing – I actually just hop in the tub with Zoey. We registered for the Puj tub, which we used for a few weeks. But when they’re that little they are SO slippery, which makes trying to hold them upright in a baby tub almost impossible. I took an herbal bath with Zoey right after she was born, and kept remembering how much easier it was to be in the water holding her. So finally I tried it, and that’s how we’ve been doing baths ever since. In the beginning, I had Taylor sit outside the tub and help me, but after a couple times we got into a rhythm and tub time is second nature now. 
 
I definitely have nothing against baby tubs, we just found out that mom and baby bathtime worked better for us. If you think that you’ll be more comfortable with a tub, I do think that the Puj is the best option out there because it’s soft, fits in almost any sink, and stores completely flat. 
 

Wipe Warmers 

Poor Zoey. Her little butt knows nothing but cold wipes. Don’t worry, it’s just my way of preparing her for the cold, harsh reality of the world. It’s a parenting technique.;) 
 
And that’s it! There are a million other little things I could talk/rant about, so if you have specific questions, feel free to ask! And happy registering to all you expecting mamas out there!
 
LOVE&HUGS,
 
Nat
 
*Last disclaimer, I’m not savvy enough to set up affiliate links, so I’m receiving no kind of commission for this post or any resulting clicks. This advice was 100% free to you, so YOU’RE WELCOME.
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  • I really don’t know why wipe warmers are a thing. Maybe in Alaska or, like, the North Pole. And yes to diaper pails! We just used a trash can from Target and a regular trash bag and it’s totally fine.ReplyCancel

  • Amen to the Rock n Play. I didn’t think we’d need it, but whew buddy did it save our lives. And yes to the scam of diaper pails! Why? WHY? It’s so dumb. Our $10 Walmart trash can is so much better.ReplyCancel

  • Kelli

    Thank you so much for posting this!! I was just gifted a Solly wrap and I am excited to use it. Where do you get all of Zo’s cute headbands?? I love that they aren’t the typical “flower bigger than head” bows that you see on a lot of baby girls. Hers are so cute!ReplyCancel

  • Ah I love this. Mostly because it reassured me haha. We got the same stroller and car seat and opted not to get a swing for those same reasons.ReplyCancel

  • We did the same thing when I told my husband I was pregnant! I didn’t find out about the Rock-n-play until after my son was born, but once I did, it was a lifesaver!ReplyCancel

  • HEATHER

    not that im “with child” but great post for momma’s to be!ReplyCancel

  • Great post and very helpful for someone like me who is currently trying to finish her baby registry. I agree, baby gear is SO overwhelming! :PReplyCancel

  • Sara

    Hey there! Are you still going no ‘poo?ReplyCancel

Another weekend has come and gone, and what do I have to show for it?
PICTURES OF COURSE. 

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Friday was Taylor’s birthday, so most of the weekend was spent celebrating my mustachioed hunk of a husband. Taylor is one of those pain in the ass kinda guys that despises big celebratory hoopla, and I’m one of those wives who wants to strangle the low-key right out of him.

But marital compromise is the name of the game, so on Saturday we had a small birthday get-together with family and friends to celebrate the big 2-7. It was the manliest of celebrations featuring burgers, hot dogs, beer, and mustache cups (courtesy of Zoey’s mustache themed baby shower). 

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Our family all joined us for the festivities. They claimed they were there to celebrate Taylor but COME ON. We all know who they were there for. 

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No birthday cake is complete without last minute makeshift candles, but we demolished that cookie cake and about 847 beers, and I was reminded in the morning exactly how old is too old to stay awake past midnight. The answer is whatever age you have a baby. Cause this little girl is unforgiving when it comes to hangovers. 

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Luckily we had a pretty mellow Sunday planned. We laid in bed as long as possible, and then headed over to a friend’s house to lounge around their pool. Zoey seems to be totally indifferent when it comes to the water. She’s so chill, it almost seems as if she doesn’t even realize she’s in the pool. But I hate the ordeal of lathering every last inch of her in sunscreen, and I’m terrified of the possibility of a sunburnt baby, so we were only in the water for a little while before retreating back to the shade.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 presetPINIMAGEThe very very BEST part of Sunday was an hour long impromptu family nap. I could not tell you the last time I napped, so I woke up feeling totally disoriented, but oh-so-refreshed. After dinner, Taylor and I curled up on the couch and finally finished Stranger Things. Has anyone else been watching? It’s SO GOOD. I hate that it was only 8 episodes long, but MAN what a great ending! It was such a fun show and I’ll go crazy if they don’t do a 2nd season. 

By the way – happy August! Even though August is definitely NOT fall, it’s one step closer to fall, the greatest of seasons. Plus this month feels like the excitement of the entire summer finally coming to a head. We’ve got plans for just about every weekend, our first family trip, Zoey turning 6 months old (NOOOO) and work is busy busy busy! So buckle up, August is gonna be a wild one!

Happy Monday y’all! 

LOVE&HUGS,

Nat

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  • So you are telling me I can still have my weekly Sunday nap after I have a baby? Because those are my favourite. Also I had to laugh at your hungover with a baby snapchat.ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      Hahahaha well what I’m telling you is that after 6 months you might get a fluke afternoon that allows you to pass out on the couch – so YES! ;)ReplyCancel

  • HEATHER

    Happy B-day to Taylor!ReplyCancel

Sooooooo truth be told it was a busy weekend, but not necessarily the kind of busy that’s worth talking about. Like, dog-sitting for my in-laws, doing umpteen loads of laundry, and snapchatting the hell out of my baby. 

So rather than try really hard to make diaper changes and grocery shopping sound exciting, I figured I’d cut the chit chat and share a few photo highlights from our weekend. 

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After wayyyy too many days on shift, we finally got this guy back, and celebrated with a little family walk. 

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Lazy Saturday morning hangs with this thumb-loving babe.

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Saturday night, my mom came to visit, so Zo and I took her to one of our favorite restaurants for a girl’s dinner.

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And Zoey’s face when my mom asked, “So are we getting dessert?” PRICELESS.

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Happy Monday! 

LOVE&HUGS,

Nat

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  • karlee

    Zoe is so precious! I was just wondering, do you use cloth diapers? I don’t have babies yet (but want them eventually!) and I’d love to see a post on stuff like thatReplyCancel

    • natalie

      We do!! I’ve thought about blogging about it, but didn’t know if a post on baby poop would be of interest haha, but maybe it will! :)ReplyCancel

      • Brittany Ann

        I TOTALLY would read a blog post about cloth diapers!! We cloth diaper over here and would love to hear someone else’s opinion and experience with them!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly

    Your baby is so stinking cute I can’t handle it.ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      Girl, I can just BARELY handle it. She’s the best. :)ReplyCancel

  • Those tiny little headbands! Swoooon!ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      She’s dressed better than me a solid 99% of the time!ReplyCancel

  • Aubrey

    I have missed your posts so much! I first got into your blog through running and then while I was planning my wedding, I stalked the hell out of your wedding posts lol. Now that I’m married and looking forward to having children, I am LOVING all that you are posting; your daughter is just SO ADORABLE!ReplyCancel